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The shire
  Sei qui: healthcare > hooves: balance and harmony

“Imagine a man 6,89 foot (210 cm) tall and weighing 23,62 stones (150 kg), who takes a size 36 (Swedish) shoe (English size 4) . . . . . . !”
Other factors affecting the shape of the hoof, that we have not covered, are diet, gait, and what the horse stands and walks on.
When a horse has reached 5 years of age one can assume that its hooves are fully developed and can cope with the duties of a workhorse.
The Shire seems to be especially prone to cracking in the hoof wall, which is known by different names depending on where the crack occurs and how severe it is. It is often caused by poor quality horn, which can be hereditary. Dry, brittle horn allows hooves to crack. With all due deference to oil and hoof dressings – hooves need water! Other causes underlying hoof cracking can be overloading, careless trimming and shoeing, and the ground conditions and temperature. Horn quality has often been improved by feeding special diets of certain products. It may be worth trying.
A useful tip to keep the feather out of the way when trimming or shoeing is to draw a gauze tube over the hoof. This can be bought at the chemist´s in several sizes (normally used as bandaging). Another tip is to tie up the feather in small bunches, using hairbands or elastic bands. It is very important that the blacksmith can see the angle of the hoof when working on it and shoeing a horse. The hoof angle should be about 45 degrees.
Shoe sizes for Shire horses vary from 7 upwards, depending on the manufacturer and where they are made, so be on your guard!
A good blacksmith is worth his/her weight in gold! We are really grateful to all those blacksmiths who who take their job so seriously and responsibly and are prepared to shoe Shires without flinching at their bulk and the size of their hooves! We need you!

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